“…unless the real nature of sin is understood, the gospel cannot be received. The greatness of God’s grace will never be grasped unless it is preceded by an understanding of the greatness of sin…What in the Bible makes sin to be sin has disappeared for the great majority of Americans, and the consequence is a massive trivialization of our moral life.”
—David Wells, “Losing Our Virtue”
Theologian David Wells makes an important point. The trivialization of our moral life is not the only thing that is at stake, however. When the church loses sight of the “the greatness of [our] sin”, the import of the cross and Christ crucified will be trivialized as well.
If we are unable (and/or unwilling) to recognize the depth and magnitude of sin within us (as the Bible clearly teaches), we will eventually see a church unmoored and set adrift, anchorless in the doldrums of spiritual triviality and inconsistency.
If we have adopted and are preaching an “I have a friend in Jesus” message at the expense of an emphasis on God’s Holiness and His righteous hatred of sin, we will have deserved the ultimate shipwreck of pop-religion and self-help spirituality that is masquerading as the gospel today in much of Christendom. If we insist upon reading Romans 3:21-22 without the clarifying, foundational backdrop of Romans 3:10-20, we will have deserved the lukewarm apostate waters that threaten to engulf us and into which we may ultimately will sink.
"Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms."
In the Lukewarm Water Doldrums
Sin’s the toxic silent stalker,
It’s the blindside strike we took…
It’s the venom of the serpent,
It’s the curse found in The Book.
It’s the searing of the conscience3,
When what’s wrong is called “all right”.
It’s when Holiness and Virtue’s
Brushed aside and out of sight.
Sin’s what tells us: “You’re the Boss, man!”
“There’s no ‘god’ you should obey!”
It’s the Pride in us agreeing:
“Yes, God really DIDN’T say4!”
It’s the intellect that reasons:
“We’re evolving! Give us time!”
It’s the attitude proclaiming:
“I’m not guilty5!”….There’s no crime!”
It’s the cliff we’re plunging over…
It’s rejecting Moral Law.
It’s The Fall we’re now denying,
And it’s mankind’s Tragic Flaw8.
It’s the Idol we’ve selected,
It’s the blindspot of the soul.
It’s the heart that’s simply hardened,
It’s the sheep outside the fold.
It’s the heart of Noah’s mockers12,
It’s the stain of hist’ry’s blood.
It’s denial front and center,
Humanism’s reigning flood.
“The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.”
Father, forgive us for the way we have too often treated your Word, for the times we have drifted away from it and have rendered it virtually impotent in our teaching and preaching. Please, Lord, anchor us securely to your Word….Help us recognize our sin.
Forgive us for trying to create You in our own image so that we might be self-justified and so feel better about ourselves. Draw us daily by your Spirit of Grace and Truth to Christ Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, crucified on the cross at Calvary as just and merciful payment for our sins.
Help us, Father, to share the gospel more boldly. Don’t allow us to miss the boat.
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."